Capital Chefs’ Favorite Kitchen Gadgets (2nd Edition)

Photo courtesy of
‘kitchen @ America Eats, Washington DC’
courtesy of ‘Plantains & Kimchi’

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about what kitchen appliances and tools the Capital Chefs are chatting about these days. Click through to find out what kitchen gadgets DC chefs just can’t do without. But before you do, I must credit many websites like, because this list is based off of them.

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘needlessspaces’

Two kitchen tools still reign supreme among the Capital Chefs: knives and microplanes. John Critchley of Urbana simply responded to my question with: “A sharp knife.” Eric Brannon of Ted’s Bulletin also agrees that the knife is most important. He uses a specific one his grandmother brought back from Japan, and he only uses it at home for everything from cooking to opening letters. Quanta Robinson of Black’s Bar & Kitchen prefers a big scimitar knife which is good for breaking down proteins, she says.

Nick Stefanelli of Bibiana, Jaime Montes de Oca of Zentan and Haidar Karoum of Estadio all love their microplanes which they use for grating everything from spices to cheese to chocolate. The downside though, as Haidar and I discussed, is that awful moment when you manage to grate your own hand on a microplane. Watch out!

For Nate Garyantes of Ardeo + Bardeo, he swears by a cake tester. The Cleveland Park chef uses the tester to see if meat or fish are cooked by probing a dish and then holding the metal to the inside of his wrist to feel the temperature. Impressive, in my opinion.

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘bigal_60714’

Scott Drewno of The Source by Wolfgang Puck has a spoon. Rather, his spoon. According to him, the right spoon has to have the right weight and the right shaped bowl in order to be just perfect.

Working with sugar and confectionery treats, pastry chef Mallory Staley at 1789 sings the praises of a candy thermometer. While she says that making candies is a time-consuming project, she also says making candies are a lot of fun in the kitchen.

And lastly, Amy Brandwein of Casa Nonna had an interesting answer: a small pair of plier-like tweezers. She can grab hot dishes with them, rearrange food on a plate before it goes out and even pinch her cooks when they’re being bad, she jokes.

Marissa was born and bred in New Jersey, but moved to DC for undergrad at GWU (Go Colonials, go!), fell in love with the District and learned that there was life and civilization beyond New York City. She loves eating at white-tablecloth-three-forks-at-your-place-setting restaurants, but she’ll also be the first to suggest we scarf down some chili dogs at 2 am. Simply put, she loves all things food. You can also read about why she loves DC. Follow her on Twitter and email her at mbialecki (at)

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